Tuesday, April 26, 2011


we’re still trying to define our own family traditions, but this would be our first Easter to decorate eggs with drew. i was pretty uncertain about his level of interest, so i didn’t want to go all out but knew i wanted our experience to be a departure from the norm. i’d found several natural recipes online, watched a few how-to videos and decided we’d go for it!

next thing i knew, i was plucking petals from our garden roses, found expired spinach in the fridge, and snagged chili powder and tea bags from the spice cabinet. red cabbage was the only item i actually bought specifically for the eggstra special project.

turns out, it wasn’t the fastest route, but it was easy, fun and very inexpensive…not the most common combination.

of course, drew had a blast. it was a perfect activity for his current and very toddler-esque “let me do it” phase. and because little man and his precious hands haven’t quite mastered the concept of gentle, most of the eggs ended up cracked with lots of character.

regardless, the au naturel method produced a collection of beautifully “marbled” and uniquely-colored eggs of which we were all very proud. i’m already looking forward to the 2012 challenge of finding more creative resources to expand our options. after all, little sis will likely not be satisfied watching from the sidelines next year!


Simmer the ingredients in two cups of water for at least 30 minutes. Strain into dipping bowls and add two tablespoons of vinegar. After (gently) turning the hard-boiled eggs in the colors for 20-30 minutes, we moved the eggs/bowls to the refrigerator overnight to achieve these rich and au naturel results.


spinach, black tea, rose petals, chili powder, cabbage

erica copy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

a great friday…

natural grocers. friendly to the earth and absolutely made my day!!

the april 20th grand opening of the abilene store had been on my calendar for months, so it took a fair amount of self restraint NOT to go on wednesday and NOT to go on thursday.

i’d taken off friday because school was closed and josh only had to work a half day, so we’d decided earlier in the week that we’d make it a family field trip.

it was WAY more than I expected…an organic haven and an environmentally responsible business committed to clean, safe, affordable and healthy food for everyone. they carry callie’s organic formula and drew’s diapers, which I’ve been buying online, and the cloth gDiaper accessories. all of their meats are from naturally raised farms, the extensive variety of produce is all certified organic and they have a bag free checkout.

i think i’m in love.



Friday, April 22, 2011

taking a stand…


for g’s sake!

because every day should be Earth Day, i ‘m excited to announce that little miss will be a “gBaby” wearing the eco-friendly gCloth Diapers as soon as next week!!

a few months ago, josh and I had a conversation about cloth diapers. despite our eco-challenge, it just wasn’t a transition we were willing or ready to entertain. however, after tons of research, much debate and moderate feelings of guilt every time i put a chemical-laden disposable into our genie (that will sit in a landfill for the next 500 years +), we are ready to take the plunge.

the initial investment is substantial, no doubt. but considering she’ll be in diapers for another 2 years, it will be well worth it financially and environmentally…to the tune of more than ONE THOUSAND dollars in my pocket and approximately FIVE THOUSAND less diapers in a land fill!!


i was concerned that day care wouldn’t oblige, but they were surprisingly supportive. so, similar to the cw project of baby led weaning, i’ll post our progress and all the dirty clean details as we embark on another green journey.

what about big brother?

well, he is already in potty training mode. so we’re probably not going to take the cloth challenge for him. but, we have switched to seventh generation diapers that are chlorine, fragrance and latex free, but not so easy to find locally.

geez, i think that’s enough potty talk for one day!


do you have any special plans or projects for Earth Day?

if so, share you act to save the earth at


have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

erica copy

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

my green jeans…


i have big dreams for our green journey.

the kind that keep me awake at night.

the kind that prevent me from focusing on my real and current priorities.

the ideas are coming faster than i can write them down.

the books to read are stacking up faster than i can possibly digest.

we’re making big changes at haus von yarger.

my organic basil seedlings are finally established and growing.

our new organic grocery store natural grocers opens this week.

i’ve started a mom’s group to find others with similar interests.

i’ll be on a twitter panel this week for

i’m hosting a table at the 3rd annual baby expo next month.

thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

erica copy


Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy

and CONGRATS to leslie of green cattle beef who won the reusable bag giveaway. please send me an email with your bag selection and ship to address.

Friday, April 15, 2011

five for friday: BYOB…

want to know the quickest, easiest and most environmentally-friendly change YOU can make today?

bring your own bags when you shop, especially at the grocery store!

The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year. Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic. Source

most retailers sell their own branded bags for less than $2, so it is a small investment with an enormous environmental ROI, and many offer a $0.05 credit on subsequent transactions for each BYOB.   

if you really want to step it up, these are a little more functional, fashionable and durable.


in fact, leave a comment and i’ll GIVE AWAY one of the bags listed below.


EnviroSax Robot. Reusable bag designed to be fun to use as well as teach a valuable lesson about our responsibility to the planet. . 17.7” x 15.7” Holds 44 lbs. $9

ChicoBag VITA rePETe. A perfect reusable bag for taking to your local farmers market, mall, bookstore or beach, and fashionable way to make an environmental statement. 19" h x 15.5” x 3.5" x 5" Holds 40 lbs. 100% Recycled PET. Machine washable. $13

BAGGU Grey Stripe. Carry in your hand or over your shoulder. Holds 2-3 plastic grocery bags of stuff. 15"x 25" x 6". Holds 50 lbs. 100% Ripstop nylon. Machine washable. $8

ChicoBag Produce Stand. Set of three in an apple pouch with an attached carabineer, making it easy to carry and store your bags when not in use. Specifically designed to maintain optimal humidity and air flow for fruits and vegetables. 99 percent recycled content. 12.5” x 16” Machine washable. $16

LOVE SACK Love. Perfectly sized natural cotton canvas tote with design from CREATIVE LOVE artists. 14” x 16” x 5” $15

leave a comment on this post and i’ll announce the winner on wednesday, april 20. open to U.S. residents only.

have a wonderful weekend…and remember your bags if you’re out shopping!!

erica copy

Friday, April 8, 2011

five for friday: a greener pizza…


who doesn’t love pizza?

they’re versatile, easy and (can be) healthy.

even my pickier than picky toddler likes pizza!

i found this spinach, sausage and provolone recipe in real simple sometime last year. it’s five easy-to-prepare ingredients and five easy steps. other than a traditional margarita pizza, this is a solid favorite and a frequent selection from the recipe stash.

but tonight for j’s birthday, i made a healthier, greener version of the recipe and it was THE BEST EVER (birthday boy even agreed).

so I had to share…the recipe that is, because there weren’t any leftovers!!

  1. Heat oven to 425º F. Shape the dough into a 14-inch circle on a baking sheet.
  2. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of the oil and bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Add the spinach to skillet, tossing for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Top the partially cooked dough with the sausage mixture, cover with sliced provolone.
  5. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese has melted, 12 to 15 minutes.

And here’s how I changed it up…

  • i called our local pizza joint and asked if they’d sell me a dough ball. they are prepared fresh daily and had to be better than my usual store-bought, packaged and ready to bake variety. they obliged, said it would be $0.50 and then didn’t even charge me when I picked it up…now that is green $ friendly.
  • the italian pork sausage was from burgundy pasture farms. the pigs are pasture-raised assuring them a variety of natural food sources, plenty of room, sunshine and fresh water, no antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals of any kind, and pastures free of commercial herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.
  • finally, our greens were locally harvested just last week from the stuteville’s (josh’s aunt and uncle) organic garden. the spinach flavor was so intense (in a good way), even more so than the organic girl greens also used in the recipe.

chicago-style? just ok.

new york-style? delicious.

my-style? BEST EVER!!

erica copy

Friday, April 1, 2011

five for friday: trash talking…

it’s EARTH month!! so all my five for friday posts this month, typically posted on haus von yarger, will be posted over here and dedicated to encouraging simple and sustainable practices in, around and out of the house.

so let’s talk trash!!

According to the EPA, food waste is the third largest waste stream in the United States (after paper and yard waste). Of that, some 97% or 31 million tons are thrown into landfills or incinerators. But, excess food, leftovers and scraps that are not fit for consumption and donation can be used to feed the soil by recycling (composting) food waste into a nutrient rich soil amendment.

until we REALLY started recycling just last month, i didn’t realize how much waste there was in food packaging!  coupled with our transition from paper towels (i’m rationing my last two roles) to machine washable kitchen towels, we’ve seen a tremendous reduction in our trash.

i don’t think i’m ready for a full outdoor composter with worms and such (baby steps), so i’ve been looking at these small indoor pails. they sell biodegradable liners to contain the waste, and the lids should conceal odor and keep the fruit flies away. i’m hoping this will be a perfect and easy solution for all those banana and orange peels, among other things.

here are a few reasonable options (with their retailers’ description)…

uncommongoods galvanizedCompostPailsJB1039-262 CompostPailBamboo_l

Ceramic Countertop Compost. Who knew compost could look so pretty! This simple container by Beth Mueller will remind you to compost the little things, such as coffee grounds and orange rinds, and give your kitchen counter an artful touch. Uncommon Goods. $60

Wide-Mouth Compost Pail . This galvanized steel pail is not only practical and affordable, it also lends a rustic touch to both farmhouse-style and modern kitchens. The oval shape conserves counter space and provides a wide opening so it's easy to scrape plates without spilling. Gardner's Supply Co. $17

Stainless Steel Compost Pail. Countertop-worthy design, odor-absorbing filter, and generous capacity make each of these shining stainless pails the ideal way to compost right in the kitchen. Dishwasher-safe pail is outfitted with two replaceable charcoal filters. Crate and Barrel. $40-55

Green Stoneware Compost Crock. No one will guess this handsome crock is collecting food scraps for composting, so you can keep it right on the kitchen counter. An activated charcoal filter in the lid traps odors, and it’s dishwasher-safe, too. Made of glazed ceramic, the crock comes with 2 filters that last up to two months each. Gardner's Supply Co. $30

Bamboo Compost Pail. Composting in the kitchen is easy with our Bamboo Compost Pail. It features a removable liner that is dishwasher-safe. A set of charcoal filters in the vented lid help contain odors. It features a generous 1 gallon capacity. The Container Store. $40

which is your favorite?

do you have experience with an indoor compost?

erica copy

visit for even more details on  How to Green Your Kitchen.